Call of the Forest

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Chapter 2

The atmosphere from yesterday was still strong in the air between Beth and Riven as we sat around the kitchen table having breakfast.
Lowe was getting ready for school.
"So, how did your meeting go?" I asked, attempting to make conversation.
Riven rolled up the cuffs of his black shirt, "It went rather well, thank you for asking. I was just trying to get Beth to take an interest in one of the new guys."
Beth glared at him, "Dad, I'm sure Harley doesn't want to hear about my love life."
"Oh on the contrary, I would love to hear about that. Remember in school how we used to gossip about the boys?"
"I'd rather talk about introducing you to Jesse, he's coming around later, you know." she gave me a very pointed look.
I waved a hand, "I'm not looking for anything."
"Trust me, when you see Jesse, your mind will change." she wiggled her brows at me.
I couldn't help but notice Riven's clenched jaw.
"Does Jesse work for you?"
"In a sense, yes. He is a very nice young man, but I disagree with my daughters match making skills, I would suggest someone a little more mature." at the last line he glared at Beth.
"I would prefer no match making." I added.
Beth rolled her eyes, "You need a good man, especially after that Jake disaster."
I shot her a look, but said nothing. Perhaps I did need a distraction from the improper thoughts I was finding myself having about her father.
Suddenly Riven stood, "Harley, let's get Lowe to school."
Beth rolled her eyes but said nothing as I said goodbye and followed Riven.
"Harley, do you have a license?"
I nodded, "Yes, I do. I was thinking of renting a car for a while."
"Nonsense, you can use one of mine. But today I will show you around so that you don't get lost in the future."
I doubted that I would be able to get lost in such a small place, but I didn't voice this thought as I got into his car.
Lowe climbed into the back seat and we drove away.

We had reached the small school in about five minutes and said goodbye to Lowe before driving away.
"There is a lovely little cafe just around the corner, morning coffee?"
"Sure, that sounds great."
"You don't need to feel pressurized by Beth about Jesse. He is a nice guy, but he's a little aloof."
"I'm not really looking for anything, especially not in my second day here."
We stopped at a small cafe with 5 outside tables and four inside seats.
Riven pulled out a chair for me and we sat at one of the outside tables.
We had just ordered two coffees when Riven suddenly sniffed the air, his eyes darkening.
"You have to be kidding." he said.
"What's wrong?" I asked, completely confused, and followed his gaze to see a young man who must have been in his late twenties coming towards us, his golden skin glistening in the sun.
He too had yellow eyes like Jane.
He smiled as he reached us, "Riven, what a nice surprise!" he turned to me, "Ah, you must be the lovely Harley that Beth told me about."
"I take it you're Jesse?"
"I am," he helped himself to a seat, "How are you liking it here?"
I glanced at Riven who was clearly annoyed by our new guest, "Well, it's only my second day here, but so far so good."
"Jesse, what are you doing here? I'm sure there's work to be done."
"I've finished up the last assignment, boss, all is well. Why don't you let me take over here? Beth mentioned that she needed your assistance today."
Riven clenched his fist and I was sure that if he had been holding something, he would have broken it.
"I've taken the day off to be a good host."
Jesse smiled in my direction, "So, you're from New York?"
"Yeah, grew up there, kind of boring."
"I've known her family for years, she went to school with Beth."
"That's great! Look, I'm not going to intrude, but I'd love to take you out to the bonfire tonight. Before you say no, I know what Beth is trying to do and that's not why I'm asking. I genuinely would love a new friend." Said Jesse as he stood.
I glanced over at Riven who was staring at me intently, feeling a warm and tingling rush in places I dare not mention, I turned back to Jesse, "I'd love to. What time should I be ready?"
"Say, seven?"
I nodded and he smiled before walking away.
I turned back to Riven, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Nothing. You know, I think I should in fact go and help Beth, let me drop you off at home."
I frowned, suddenly he was being extremely cold towards me, "Um, no it's okay, I'll just hang out here a bit more and walk home. What time should I fetch Lowe?"
"I will fetch her today, you should get ready for your date."
××

I had wondered around rather aimlessly before going back to the house, trying desperately to figure out why Riven had been so cold towards me.
Had he figured out that I had been checking him out?

I had just finished getting ready when Beth walked into my room.
"Dad says you have a date with Jesse?"
"Not a date," I said as I finished attaching my wedged heel sandals to my feet, "Just checking out the bonfire thing."
"You look great."
I had paired my wedge heels with a simple blue and white strappy sundress that came to a stop at mid thigh, my dark hair I tied in a messy pony tail, teamed with minimum make up.
"Why does your dad seem so against Jesse?"
Beth paled slightly, "Oh, no, he likes Jesse, he's just worried I guess, you know, with you being my friend, he is protective. Over everyone I mean."
I raised a brow, "Beth, what is going on? And what is a Beta? I heard you mention it last night."
Her mouth opened and closed a few times, she looked much like a goldfish at this point.
Riven suddenly appeared at the door, "Harley, Jesse is here."
"Shit. I mean, thanks," I shot Beth another glance, "I still want an answer when I'm back."
I pushed passed her and walked out, hitting straight into Riven's chiselled chest, "I'm so sorry!"
He stared down at me and it felt as if we were the only two people in the universe, my skin tingled where his hand rested on my arm.
Jesse knocked at the door and I jumped, "Uh, bye."
I am pretty sure I ran out of there.
Jesse apparently didn't notice anything as he stood grinning on the porch.
"Wow, you look great, Harley."
"Thank you. Can we go?" I asked impatiently, glancing back inside through a window.
I wanted to put as much distance between myself and Riven as I possibly could.
××

Jesse and I had been at the bonfire market for about two hours already, and I was actually enjoying the time with him, as it turned out, we got along like a house on fire.
As we walked along, milkshake in hand, he turned to me, "Harley, have they, um, mentioned anything to you?"
I took a sip of my double caramel milkshake, "About what?"
"Just, you know, stuff."
"No they haven't, but I am planning on having them tell me everything."
"You have a better chance of Riven telling you than Beth, she is so too the book."
"Why don't you just tell me?"
He chuckled, "Riven would rip my throat out."
That seemed like a rather strange phrase to use in such a situation but I didn't press the matter.

A few hours and a few drinks later, Jesse dropped me off, he got out of the car, "Do you want me to walk you to the door?"
"No, it's okay, I'm probably going to sit outside for a bit to get sober."
"Okay, well I had a really good time tonight, I hope I can see you again."
"Definitely! I had an amazing time." I took off his jacket and handed it to him.
He smiled again before getting into his car.
I made my way onto the beach and down to the dock, admittedly a bit shaky on my feet.
I was just about to sit when I heard footsteps behind me.
Spinning I stumbled slightly, Riven steadying me.
His jaw clenched as he looked down at me, "Did you have fun?"
"I did."
He inhaled deeply through his nose and frowned at me, "You have his scent on you."
I giggled, "You're so strange."
"Why do you have his scent on you?"
"Why do you care? Are you jealous?" my sober self was going to kill me for this tomorrow.
My second day here and I was drunk and flirting with Riven.
Without warning his mouth was on mine.
Without a thought I kissed him back, my hands finding their way into his hair, he growled into my mouth as his hands roamed my body.
I placed a hand under his shirt on his rock hard abs and he pulled away.
"You're drunk."
"And you're hot, so what?"
"I'm not taking advantage of a drunk woman, Harley."
I pouted and pushed my body against his, "So if I wasn't drunk you'd do me?"
His jaw clenched again, "Harley, please don't make this harder for me."
I kissed him passionately before walking away, heading back to the house.
Regret already starting to set in.

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